1 Reds player who was great in 2022 but won't be very good in 2023

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft. / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

As we saw with both Tyler Stephenson and Jonathan India, success during one's rookie season doesn't always equal success in Year 2. Now, both Stephenson and India were limited by injuries during their second season in the majors, but the duo fell short of expectations after breaking onto the big stage in 2021.

India, who struggled with lower leg injuries throughout the 2022 season, posted a -0.4 bWAR and an OPS+ of 91 after recording 3.9 bWAR in 2021 and an OPS+ of 116. Stephenson, who landed on the IL three separate times, appeared in just 50 games last season.

Sustained success in the major leagues is no easy to come by, and it's very likely that one of the Cincinnati Reds young rookies will have to learn that lesson the hard. Look for Graham Ashcraft to struggle in 2023.

Reds RHP was great in 2022 but won't be very good in 2023.

A sophomore slump is inevitable for at least one of the Cincinnati Reds rookie pitchers next season. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft all had success in 2022, as did fellow rookie hurler Alexis Diaz. But while Greene and Lodolo only got stronger as their rookie campaigns chugged along, Ashcraft seemed to hit a wall.

The Huntsville, Alabama native had a terrific seven-game stretch to begin his 2022 season. Ashcraft went 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA. He struck out 27 batters and walked just seven while allowing opponents to hit just .235 against him.

However, Ashcraft's final 12 starts of his rookie season saw the right-hander post an ERA of 5.94 and a batting average-against of .310. His walk-rate during his first seven games was just 4.1%, but that number nearly doubled to 7.8% over his final 12 appearances.

When one is a contact pitcher like Ashcraft, you cannot allow free runners. His K-BB% dropped from 11.7% through his first seven games to 7.2% over his final 12 starts. Even his FIP jumped dramatically from 3.72 to 4.53. With the shift going away in 2023 and the Cincinnati Reds infield defense questionable at best, Ashcraft could really struggle to get outs in 2023.

Admittedly, it's difficult to call what any Reds player did in 2022 great, but coming from the minor leagues to the majors and starting 19 games has to count for something. Ashcraft went five innings or more in 13 of his 19 starts.

Reds Country will surely be in Graham Ashcraft's corner next season, but the 24-year-old will have to make some adjustments during the offseason in order to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.

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